Thursday 19 March 2020
First Reading – John 7:37-52
37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[c] 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. 40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44 Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
Unbelief of the Jewish Leaders
45 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” 46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied. 47 “You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. 48 “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49 No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 51 “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”
Second Reading – Origen on Prayer – Supplication, Prayer, Intercession and Thanksgiving
The following are examples of the first, supplication. Gabriel’s words to Zechariah, when he is apparently praying for the birth of John. This is the way it goes “Do not be afraid Zechariah, for your supplication is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John (Luke 1:13). Next, what is written in Exodus at the time a Golden calf was made, as follows, “And Moses made supplication before the Lord God and said, O Lord, why does you wrath raged against your people, whom you have brough forth out of the land of Egypt with great power? (Exodus 32:11). Next, in Deuteronomy, “And I made supplication before the Lord, a second time as before; forty days and forty nights I neither ate bread nor drink water because of all the sins which you had committed (Deut 9:18).
The following are the examples of the second, prayer: In Daniel, “Then Azarias stood and offered this prayer; in the midst of the fire he opened his mount and said”. Hannah in 1 Samuel, “And she prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. And she prayed a prayer and said, “O Lord of Hosts, if you will indeed look on the lowliness of your maidservant, and so forth” (1 Sam 1:10-11). Next in Habakkuk, “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, with music, “O Lord, I have heard your voice and been afraid. O Lord, I have considered your works and been amazed. In the midst of the two living creatures you will be known; as the years draw near you will be recognised.” (Hab 3:1-2). This gives an especially clear definition of prayer, because it is offered with by the one praying.
The following are examples of the third, intercession: In the writings of the Apostle, where he quite reasonably assigns prayer to our control, but intercession to that of the Spirit, since He is better and has boldness with the One to whom He makes intercession. What he says is, “ For what we should pray for as we ought we do not know, but the Spirit Himself makes special intercession for us to God with sighs too deep for words. And He who searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Roma 8:26-27). For the Spirit “makes special intercession” and “intercedes” but we pray. It seems to me that what Joshua says about the sun standing still at Gibeon is an intercession, “Then spoke Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites into the hands of Israel, when He crushed them in Gibeon, and they were crushed before the children of Israel. And Joshua said, “Let the sun stand still at Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Elom” (Josh 10:12).
And example of Thanksgiving is the voice of our Lord, when He said, “I give thanks to you, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes.” (Matt 11:25)
Dear Lord, thank you for sending Jesus who is our living water and whoever believes in him will never be thirsty. Amen.